Meghalaya to appeal to Supreme Court on rescue operation to trace trapped miners

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Shillong, Apr 16:
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday said that the state government would appeal to the Supreme Court to call off the rescue operation to trace the bodies of coal miners trapped inside a coal pit Khloo Ryngksan in East Jaiñtia Hills district for 125 days now.

Of the 15 people trapped, Indian Navy divers have retrieved two bodies so far. Three more bodies have been detected by the Navy’s Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle, but yet to be taken out.

Two dead miners of the 15 miners have been fished out by Indian Navy divers with the help of the underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) from the flooded rat-hole mine at Khloo Ryngksan in East Jaiñtia Hills district.

“We are still trying but it looks very difficult and we will approach and see if Supreme Court allows us … to discontinue with the operations but right now since it is in court it will be inappropriate for me to make any comments,” Sangma told journalists.

However, the Chief Minister said that the government will appeal to Supreme Court to call off the rescue operation.

“We have been maintaining that this operation is very difficult, and even in the first few days when this had happened, we have shared that it looks like a difficult operation but nonetheless, the government continued to work and agencies from across the country came in and helped us, but we did not get the desired results,” Sangma said.

Noting that Supreme Court has given direction that the operations must continue, Sangma said, “based on the Supreme Court orders the operations are continuing … but we are not getting any kind of fruitful results and we do still hope if we can retrieve the bodies at least the family members perform the last rites.”

Several central agencies including the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force are still at the accident mining carrying out the rescue operation by dewatering the coal mines.

However, the Indian Navy team had temporarily withdrew from the search operation on March 1 following tension between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack.

The labourers got trapped when they broke the wall of another mine and water gushed inside. The tragedy came to light after five coal miners escaped from the coal pit.

The disaster took place despite an interim ban on rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya by the National Green Tribunal since April 17, 2014.